Radio station puts “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” back on air after public vote
(CNN) — In his 25 years in radio, KOIT Program Director Brian Figula had never had a song elicit a reaction like the one he was receiving prior to pulling “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” off the air.
“…get over yourselves!!”
“…such boohooing, it’s really sickning (sic)”
“Why do we as a society, make decisions in life because one sissy lala got their panties in a bunch?”
All this over the San Francisco radio station’s decision to pull “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from its rotation after roughly 100 complaints got the attention of Figula. Just days before, a Cleveland radio station found itself in the crosshairs for doing the same.
The lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” have for years been viewed by some as problematic when seen through a modern lens. In a culture that emphasizes the importance of sexual consent, lyrics like “I ought to say no, no, no, sir (Mind if move in closer?)” and “Say, what’s in this drink?” don’t fly with some.
He never shared with his listeners the station’s decision to pull the song, and it was never talked about on air. But when a local TV station got wind of it and ran a story, the response was massive.
Within 24 hours, Figula estimates they received thousands of complaints, some threatening boycotts, protests and threats. Yes, threats. Over a song.
Figula’s theory on this is that Christmas music is a little more personal to people — both a warm, comforting blanket through which stress can’t permeate and a happy reminder of opening up your first bicycle.
On Tuesday afternoon, he decided to leave the song’s fate up to a poll.
There are more than 10,000 votes so far, with 91% of respondents in favor of putting the song back on the air as of Friday evening.
KOIT’s poll closes December 10, but Figula has a feeling the results will stick.
“At the end of the day, what I learned is that some people feel that their freedoms are being stripped in various different situations in the US,” he said. “Whether it’s a monument in their city or legalization of something or whatever it is. You know, the border — people have opinions. And the reality is the one thing that we all have that we utilize to escape all these crazy things in our life is Christmas music.”
Dee Garcia, a radio personality at Hot 97.5/103.9 in Phoenix, agrees.
She has multiple versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” on her specially curated Christmas playlist, and once got mad at her friend who described it as “rapey” for “trying to ruin one of my favorite songs.”
“I think if we start to really look at the music that we play in contemporary radio, you’re gonna find that there’s much worse, especially if you get into the top 40 or even hip-hop,” she told CNN. “You’re gonna get a lot more of that kind of naughty stuff.”
The difference, however, is that those songs don’t brew the amount of viral outrage or thousands of angry emails that have brought so much attention to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” They’re just, she said, “accepted as the new hit.”
If that changed — if modern hits with overtly problematic messages began to stir up debate or controversy — it would prompt a closer examination of said songs by radio stations.